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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRACIES.                   I0p
and wants of its own, which may not be inconsistent with
those of the greater whole, here a new duty comes before the
representative assembly, and one just as binding on one part or
one interest of a country as on another. Of course, interests
may clash, and men will be one-sided and selfish ; but there
is no doubt what the function of the legislator is. Just at this
point appears—let us be allowed to acid—one superiority of
this system over that of city communities. When the private
person, unlettered perhaps, and warped by others, goes to
the assembly, he has an excess of the feeling of power, but a
defect of the sense of responsibility, since he acts alone for
himself. But the representative acts in trust for others, who
have a right to expect that he will do what they ought to do
if they could be in a mass in his stead. This, therefore, like
all other delegation, calls forth the moral feelings—especially
the value of esteem for fidelity—more than most personal
transactions of a similar kind. Many a merchant will impose
on a customer without scruple, on the ground that every one
must judge of goods for himself, who would feel that a crime
would be committed by a clerk who should practice imposi-
tion on an employer.
The forms and rules of debate in modern legislative assem-
blies could never be observed in assemblies where the whole
body of citizens met together. A session often days consec-
utively would be impossible in a city-state, and would shut
out the industrious classes, unless they were paid for their
attendance, in which case only the lower class, who could
make nothing more by ordinary work than by their pay at
the ecclesia, would be present. Even they would be tired
out by sessions of a number of days together. But repre-
sentatives can meet almost daily for half a year, and the
various kinds of business can be maturing for weeks and
months in the rooms of committees.
It is not to be denied, however, that as representatives arc
left very much to themselves within a constitution, they can
abuse great trusts. In general their temptation is to follow
the wishes of their constituents timidly and unrighteously. A